Epilepsy after head injury: an overview

Epilepsia. 2009 Feb;50 Suppl 2:4-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.02004.x.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been recognized as a cause of epilepsy since antiquity, and it remains one of the most common and important causes of acquired epilepsy today. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated a clear relationship between the severity of injury and the likelihood of developing epilepsy, with the risk approaching 50% in TBI cases associated with direct injury to brain parenchyma. Importantly, many TBI victims develop epilepsy months or years following the initial injury, making this patient population a prime target for the development of antiepileptogenesis therapies. However, progress in this area of clinical research is hindered by the lack of reliable and valid biomarkers. Given current events in the Middle East and elsewhere, the importance of TBI and epilepsy deserves special attention due to the increase in severe head trauma associated with modern warfare.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Epilepsy, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Warfare